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[sticky post] Notes to Self about Writing Life

1. Just be yourself. Don't schmooze, don't obssess, don't get weird, don't get all theater. It's served you well, being yourself all this time. Stick with it.

2. Just write. Keep at it steadily, keep at it carefully. Do it conscientiously, do it to the best of your ability.

3. See number one again, especially when you feel insecure about number 2.

4. Believe you have a story to tell. Then don't put it off. Tell it.

5. Accept that some people will like your work, some people will not like your work, and that's okay. You write because you have a story to tell. It's nice if someone will read your story, but if they don't, well, not everyone in the world or even the Western hemisphere is going to read your story. And that is okay.

6. Writing can change the world, but is not the most important job anyone will ever have on the planet. You are not telling deep truths about the universe. You are telling a story. Get over yourself.

7. See number one and number three again, just in case you need a reality check. Never believe your own press.

8. Keep doing something you enjoy that keeps you in touch with people and makes you feel that you are making a contribution to the world, because you can turn into a mushroom if you're writing only. A strange, weird, psychologically fungal mushroom, I might add. And then you might drink.

9. Do not pass judgment on the writing of others. Do not compare your writing to the writing of others. You can have opinions about things you read, but unless you are asked, you might want to keep them to yourself, especially where other writers are concerned. Play nice.

10. Expect others to play nice with you. Avoid pseudo intellectuals and non constructive critics. Hell, you don't need them. You have your worst critic, yourself, to contend with already.

11. The industry is not the measure of your success. Attention is not the measure of your success. Of course you want to send your work out, make smart marketing decisions, and try to share. The measure of your success is stories written and sent. You can't convince the world it wants your work, but you certainly can't do anything at all unless you're telling stories.

12. Realize that success in writing, like success in anything, is really more about persistance than anything else. Write, learn to market selectively and well, and then market selectively and well. There will be a learning curve. You will battle obscurity. You will make mistakes and get rejections. BUT eventually you'll have enough circulating and people will know who you are, and you'll learn the tricks, and your writing will line up with someone's taste, and more and more things will be accepted.

13. See 1, 3, and 7 again, especially in moments of personal angst.

14. See 2 and 4 again, especially in moments of procrastination.

15. See 4, 5, 9, and 11 again, especially in moments where you lack faith.

16. See 5, 9, and 10 to remind yourself of grace.

17. See 6, 7 and 10 to remind yourself that you're not curing cancer.

18. See 8 to maintain your balance.

19. See 12 when you feel like giving it up.

20. If you're not satisified anymore, if it's causing you consternation, cease. Walk away. Writing is important. A happy life is much more important than that. Anything must give you joy for you to continue it. Don't settle.

Vintage Update


Well, the semester has almost started! And I am happy about that.

Recently, I heard from Emma Curtis at the Costume She pointed me in the direction of 1920s and 1950s hair tutorials on her site. Just check out my vintage page under hair, and visit the site for some fun costumes, vintage and otherwise.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

And Then, Draft 3 Was Done


Draft 3 is done. As part of draft three, however, I threw out the final quarter of the novel. I still have a complete novel, but the last fourth is really a first draft.

Right now, I'm engaged in what I'm calling draft 3.1, revising the new ending to send it out to my critique friends. I've already been getting feedback on the first 3/4 which is very helpful.

Of course, as usual, the best laid plans of writers are often waylaid. In my case by 120 extra students, and 15 teacher interviews. I will try to get as much done as I can by the conference, but realistically can I get it done? That's the question.


Today I purchased my new CPAP. I'll be sure to write a review. Why? Because I found that I didn't know much about them before all this, and that information might be helpful to someone else out there who is underoxygenated. Yup. I love making up words.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

2014 in Writing


So...I'm looking at the Submission Grinder, and I'm discovering that I submitted 11 shorter works 53 times last year. I'm looking at Query Tracker, and I'm discovering that I hit 52 new agents with Abigail Rath. This year I rewrote a novella (which still needs another rewrite), wrote a new novel and have revised it almost 3 times, and wrote six new short stories.

I had several stories held for upper tier consideration, second and even third looks. I had some requests for full manuscripts.

I made my first professional sale. Blatant plug: Buy The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk when it comes out in July. You know you want to. Or maybe you know I want you to, if we get all Freudian about it.


What can I take from this? Well, in no particular order

1. I worked really, really hard at producing writing this year.
2. Revising is a lifestyle.
3. I am a submitting machine.

Now, in terms of controlling what I could, I did good. :) I would have liked more sales, or an agent. I would have liked to have finished The Poison of thy Flesh in terms of having it ready to send out. But I look at the amount I've done, and I can't say that I really did a lot of procrastinating. Nope. Productive is my middle name this year.


Where am I at in my quest to gain the extra 6K I need to get my 10K Outliers hours? Yes, I am still on my quest to get those 10K hours that Malcolm Gladwell suggests to master an art. I've been at it for 4 years, and this year my magic number has totaled 2232. I wrote 516 dedicated hours last year, fewer than the first 2 years, but about the same as last year. That I did all the above in 516 hours makes me feel pretty good.


So, next year? Well, I'm going to get Poison smooth, get its supporting materials in great shape, and send it out. I'll be visiting two pitch conferences in addition to all the queries by mail. My goal to produce a short a month will continue, and it's still my hope to get a serial up on Patreon.

After Poison, I'll be ripping into that weredog novella again, and then I'm thinking I will revisit the trolls in Decorah YA. Then, on to the second Klarion book. Plans of course can change.


How about you? What are you up to? What do you hope for in 2015?

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Happy 2015


For want of a more original title, I guess.

The official analysis from the sleep lab is this: I quit breathing 10 times an hour. Let's put that in perspective. Someone with serious apnea quits breathing 120 or so times an hour. So I have a tiny, cute little apnea, for which I will be getting a tiny, cute little CPAP, which looks like a cross between packing pillows and an oxygen mask. I should be shelling out the big bucks for that in the next couple of weeks. Nope, I don't know how much yet. It's not a Muppet nose. Even though it's small, I feel like they're shoving a gale force up my nose! In the end they had to get me a smaller insert. My tiny nose!


So, I lost about 7 pounds entire last year. I was lower at one point, but I finished at 206, more or less. I'm trying out Weight Watchers new personal coach feature this year, and trying to eat smaller meals more often. And muchos plant matter. I would really like to have y cruise pictures look different this year than the last time, even if I am not a svelte goddess on the cruise.


The book is about 3/4 done now. Part of it is out to readers, and they are getting back to me pretty quickly. Awfully nice of them. I have this month to get things well in hand. Wish me luck. Work is very worky, and I fear I will spend next weekend prepping to teach.


When next I write, I want to go over my year in writing and my writing plans for this coming year. Stay tuned.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Writer Tamago’s Top 10 Reads for 2014


And here is the follow up to the films--my top reads. Again, in my very sloppy fashion, the only criteria is that it was new to me this year, not new this year. Also, these can be short stories, comics, graphic novels, novels, anything in print. In no particular order:

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Writer Tamago’s Top 10 Films for 2014


What do you mean we're almost out of December? Well, okay, then, I guess it's time for the top films that I saw this year.

My criteria are sloppy. I can pick anything I watched for the first time this year, even if it didn't come out this year. Strangely enough, though, for a change, more came out this year than didn't. And when I say film, I mean something I watched with my eyes, so it could actually be a tv show or a short disguised on my film list. Here we go! In no particular order:

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

The Sleep Lab


My journey into restoring my health began last October, when we discovered that my thyroid was off. I started into some counseling to help with anxiety, and I tried to slow down. I lost around 20 pounds. Things were pretty good. Working out, eating better, more secure. This fall notwithstanding, the overall prognosis has been excellent. And, as you might remember from yesterday's post, I'm ready for phase 2, and to knock off the backsliding.

At my checkup in October, I was sure that the doc would adjust my thyroid meds, because I still feel tired often. I get enough sleep. I call it a night at 9:30 and I'm up at 5:30. Do the math. My problem, it seems, is sleep apnea, which to my way of thinking is a better diagnosis than, "you're old now." So, in order to both diagnose, and to get my CPAP up and running, I've been to/will be returning to the sleep lab.

What's it like to have a sleep test? Well, you go to a room that looks like a hotel room with an intercom and all sorts of fun wires and monitors. When you get a sleep test, they paste a bunch of diodes into your hair, and put monitors on your heart, your rib cage, and your legs, just in case your problem isn't with your airway. Then you take a couple of sleeping pills and fade in and out of consciousness all night.

This time around, they'll be fitting me with a CPAP. I don't have serious apnea, because they didn't do the adjustment the first night I was there, but I do have it. On the scale of apnea, where a 4 is normal, I scored a 16, so we were pretty sure that's what was going on. As women get older, our likelihood of apnea evens up with men's. It increases 20 fold. And I have tiny little air passages in my nose, another sign.

So, this is where I'll ring in 2015. At the sleep lab, wired for sound. And then we'll have a CPAP, and we'll see if we have more energy.

Hope all of you are well.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

The Return of Ribsy


Still working on the novel, ending the semester, hiring a boatload of new teachers, all that.

I have gained a bit of weight back. I am now at these stats:

Beginning Weight at Weight Watchers: 224.8
Current Weight Watchers Weight: 210.2
Lost: -14.6

Beginning Wii Weight: 223
Current Wii Weight: 207.2
Lost: -16.6

The last time I made goal weight, Bryon gave me the nickname Ribsy, affectionately after Henry Huggins' dog. Sure, Ribsy was a boy dog, but the point was you could count my ribs. I am now beginning phase 2. I'll be monitoring what I eat more closely and making sure I work out each day. Why? Well, I'd like to lose another 30 pounds before we go on our cruise this summer. I have a lot of--um--voluptuous cruise pictures already, and I'd like to have some differently shaped ones.

The battle for good health continues!

In other health related news, I will be getting my second sleep study on December 31st. Yes, this woman knows how to party on New Year's Eve. What's that, you say? You didn't know I was getting a sleep study? You don't even know what a sleep study is all about? entry then. Hardware for slumber.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Penguins of Madagascar


In an attempt to distract ourselves from our cat grief, Bryon and I went to see The Penguins of Madagascar movie over the holiday weekend. I do like my penguins, their punny humor, their wry caricatures, and just the witty delivery of the script. It's kind of off beat, but so am I.

I bring Penguins to your attention, because I've been working with My Story Can Beat Up Your Story this year, and if you would like to see a movie that brings all of the script writing theory in that book together, it is this movie. It sets up the story arcs perfectly, the characters are archetypal, there are items introduced early in the film that will become pivotal later, and so on. Get the book, read it, and then go see Penguins.

If you feel weird about seeing Penguins, two of the voices are John Malkovich and Benedict Cumberbatch. There. Now you can feel high brow about seeing Penguins.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

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